Palace 2-0 West Brom
Crystal Palace moved into the Champions League places after a dominant 2-0 win over Tony Pulis’ West Brom at Selhurst Park.
Alan Pardew’s team were rampant throughout but for long periods it looked like West Brom would maintain their record of not conceding away from home this season as Boyaz Myhill made save after save in the Baggies net.
The breakthrough eventually came in the 68th minute when Yohan Cabaye curled a majestic cross to the back post where Yannick Bolasie was on hand to head home for his first Selhurst Park goal since New Year’s Day 2013. Cabaye then got on the score sheet himself, converting a Wilfried Zaha won penalty for the second time in six days.
Tony Pulis and his Pathetic West Brom
West Brom fans are becoming increasingly incensed with the style of football that Pulis has instilled since taking over and it was easy to see why. Towards the end of the match the Crystal Palace fans chanted “Oh Tony Pulis, what have you done?” This was a dig for leaving the Eagles just over a year ago for a “top ten club” only for Palace to considerably outperform West Brom since the arrival of Alan Pardew. However, it could also double up as a damning indictment of the way that he set his team up for this match.
When Pulis was in charge at Palace there was never any desire to keep hold of the ball but there was always a willingness to hit teams on the counter attack with pace. With no pace to speak of in the West Brom team, especially once the abject Saido Berahino was taken off, the visitors had nothing to offer on the few occasions that they did have the ball. Never before have I seen such a lack of attacking intent from a team.
It wasn’t hard to find discontent amongst Baggies fans. The below is the first post from the first West Brom forum that I looked at – and it pretty much sums up their performance.
“Quite possibly the worst performance I can remember from us in any of our premier league seasons. Waved the white flag from the first kick. A complete surrender. Incompetent in every aspect of the game. Pulis will come out and bemoan the passing and poor play, but won't ever realise it’s his innate distrust of ability that is the problem. Every game, Gardner is the go to change, we'll change the line up next week. The key thing will be Gardner in. Craig Gardner is basically the Pulis of footballers.
I'd prefer to finish 20th with a new manager than a season of this. Even if we scrape survival. I'd be surprised if there's a team in England with less attacking ambition.
Get him out now. Nothing is worth this. Says it all he's got us trending top on twitter with everyone laughing at us.”
This makes me smile on the grounds that I remember how devastated I was when Tony Pulis departed – but look at us now.
Further down in the thread:
“Absolutely shocking performance. As bad as I can remember. No intent whatsoever in winning this game. Our lack of genuine full backs is really glaringly obvious. Credit to Palace as they were a joy to watch. I bet Palace fans are delighted Pulis walked out on them.”
Yes, yes we are.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha
There were a lot of excellent performances in this match. I thought that Cabaye and James McArthur had brilliant games in the middle of the park, Scott Dann was imperious at the back and Jason Puncheon controlled the game well in behind Dwight Gayle.
"Chris Brunt is probably going to have nightmares about Wilf running at him."
Zaha, however, terrorised West Brom and all that was missing from his game was a deserved goal. Chris Brunt is probably going to have nightmares about Wilf running at him as he quite simply had no idea what to do. Initially he stood off and he got destroyed. Then he tried to get tight and got destroyed and it all culminated with him upending Zaha in the penalty area in the 89th minute.
Two games running now with output from Zaha. Could he be an outsider for the England 2016 Euro’s squad? If he keeps putting in performances like that then he will be hard to ignore.
Well played, Wilf.
Up Next: West Ham
Like us, West Ham have shocked a fair few people this season. Having already won at Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City (the last team to do that (Chelsea) in one season won the league) this will be a tough game but with the wingers that will be on display, it should be a cracking match for the neutrals.
A win could see us consolidate our place in the top 4 with one quarter of the season gone. It is still early doors but at what point do we start to get excited?
Pardew spoke to the BBC after the game:
"We were very, very good. It was a great performance. Wilfried Zaha can beat players and when you have players like that in your side it gives you great creativity.
"Wilf was on the end of some fantastic passing from Puncheon and Cabaye, which he exploited. I was really pleased to get that second goal, because it just gives you the rubber stamp on that performance.
"We've got ourselves in a great position and if the players come back fit and well from the international break there's no reason we can't keep putting in performances like that. I can compare this team to the team I had at Newcastle when we finished fifth."
I am going to go and re-watch our match against Spurs to reign myself in a bit.
Come on you Palace.